Most android users wonder what certificate authority installed on device means. This article deals with what certificate authorities are and what you should know about them
WHAT ARE CERTIFICATE AUTHORITIES?
Ever been browsing through a site on your android device and your eyes just happen to glance at the URL bar and just to the side of the website’s URL, you happen to notice a padlock.
Ever wondered what this padlock signifies? This padlock (or whatever symbol found there) signifies how strong the safety of the website is, and the browser determines this with the aid of digital certificates (digital ID), which brings us to the definition of certificate authorities.
Certificate authorities (CAs) are delegated and designated firms that give digital IDs to websites. These certificates are useful in determining the secureness of a website. These certificate authorities are a very vital part of the internet’s Public Key Infrastructure because they give Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates.
These certificates are utilized by web browsers to determine the strength of the defense a website has and how protected the information you share on such a website would be. All popular web browsers on Android (e.g., Chrome, Mozilla, UC browser, and so on) all use this SSL certificate to validate the content produced by any web server for a website. The SSL certificate is used in concurrence with the Transfer Layer Security protocol to verify data streams over the HTTPS protocol.
What kind of information does a digital ID have? It contains evidence about the entity to which the certificate has been given, such as the name and contact details. It also contains things like the expiry of the certificate and information about the certificate authority that generated the digital certificate.
When a browser opens a website, the webserver for the website transmits all the information stated above to the browser. The browser then compares it with its origin certificate authority directory (all major browser vendors has a record of authorized certificate authorities they accept digital IDs from). If the browser verifies the certificate to be produced by an authorized certificate authority, then the website is deemed secure.
Sometimes, certificate authorities give digital IDs to applicants directly, but they mostly use intermediates known as the registration authorities (RAs). They are a subsidiary of the certificate authority used for trade as well as client help. They are usually tasked with the job of receiving and verifying applicant requests. After verifying them, they pass the applications to the CA, which then creates the certificates and give them back to the RA to give to the applicant.
HOW A CERTIFICATE AUTHORITY WORKS?
No law stops any person or firm from starting their certificate authority. However, all widely authorized CAs are a component of the Certificate Authority/ Browser Forum. This forum is accountable for upholding the rules that oversee the generation, allocation, and utilization of digital certificates on the web. They also regulate the policies that govern the duration for which a certificate is valid for and under what conditions it can be revoked.
THE ROLE OF THE CERTIFICATE AUTHORITY
The major purpose of the CA is to give digital IDs to web content publishers or creators. There are different types of SSL certificates representing different categories of reliance on such websites that own them. This takes us to the subsequent section of the article:
TYPES OF AUTHORITY CERTIFICATES
The certificates given to applicants are of different varieties, but here are the three major ones: • Certificates that give Extended Validation (EV): provide the biggest degree of proof that an entity as been verified by a certificate authority.
The steps formulated by the Certificate Authority/ Browser Forum to follow to get this type of certificate are quite tedious due to the degree of assurance that comes with it. It also costs a lot. It requires a face-to-face meeting with the applicant, a personal statement, one main means of identification such as a passport, a driver’s license, or a military ID, and two auxiliary means of identification.
- Certificates that give Organization Validation (OV): give the subsequent degree of proof that an applicant has been certified. Various steps taken include phone calls with the applicant and the use of references to verify the information submitted by any organization trying to procure the certificate. For an applicant to procure the certificate, he or she must ascertain managerial control over the website for which the certificate is needed and that the domain is proven to be owned legally.
- Certificates that give Domain Validation (DV): provide the lowest level of proof. It only needs that the applicant ascertains possession of the site for which the certificate is desired and can be collected at a small fee.
CERTIFICATE AUTHORITY INSTALLED ON ANDROID
Whenever a notification saying you have a certificate authority installed appears on your Android device:
It means a third party has installed a certificate authority on the device that your phone will trust to reveal all your secure information, such as inputting your bank password on your phone. This means the owner of this certificate can intercept any information you send with your phone.
To remove such third party certificates:
- Go to the phone’s settings
- Click on the “Security” option
- Then, go to the credentials storage option, either click on “trusted credentials” or “user credentials.”
- If it’s the trusted credentials you clicked on, click on the user column and any certificate found there, uninstall it
- Also, if it’s the user credentials clicked on, just uninstall any certificate found there.
- With this, the message would not be displayed anymore.
Also, a few tips to note when browsing through different sites include:
- Whenever you click on a link leading to a site, always check the address bar. Three categories of symbols can be found there. It can either be a padlock, the letter ‘i’ with a circle around it, or a red triangle with an exclamation mark. If it’s a padlock, it means the website is secure, and any information shared on this website is secure. Even so, you should tread carefully and check if you are on the right website.
- If it’s a letter ‘i’ with a circle around it, it means the website is not using a secure connection, and anyone tries to view or alter the information you use on this website. This can be rectified by changing the HTTP:// to https://. If this still doesn’t work, then contact the website owner, to secure the site with https://.
- If it’s a red triangle with an exclamation mark that is beside the URL, then such a website should not be visited at all. It means the security of such a website is porous, and it is recommended not to share any personal information on such a website.